When a Southern California Criminal Defense lawyer quotes you a fee for the completion of your case, several different factors will be taken into consideration. It is important to understand what the basis for the fee is in order to know whether you are overpaying, or if you are paying an adequate amount for an attorney that has the experience and knowledge that you need.
One of the biggest factors that will be considered when quoting an attorney’s fees is the complexity of the case. If the case is a very simple straightforward case the fee will be much lower. For example, if a DUI case has an accident, and a blood alcohol level of .12 with another injured party involved, it is going to be a complex case. There are several factor that make it a felony, including injury and an accident as well as a high BAC. In contrast, take a DUI case where the driver was pulled over on the side of the road asleep in the backseat with a BAC of .07. The latter case is much simpler and could probably be resolved in one or two court appearances.
Whether the case is a felony or misdemeanor will make a difference when quoting a fee. Felony cases are generally more extensive, require more defense work and court appearances and consequently will warrant a higher fee. Also, the lawyer will work hard at preparing a defense that will give your case the best chance of being reduced. Misdemeanor cases generally do not require jail or prison time and can be resolved in fewer appearances requiring less time from the attorney.
If there is a prior criminal record, the Judge will be inclined to grant a harsher sentence, especially if the crime currently being charged is of the same nature. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will prepare testimonials and documents from friends and family to demonstrate the strong moral character of the client to help reduce any predisposition the Judge may have. Furthermore, the lawyer will look into rehabilitation or education programs in which the client may enroll if it is applicable to the case. This helps present the client as more than just another case number, but a person with a name. Countering a prior criminal record will require additional work on behalf of the attorney and therefore a fee quote will be higher than someone who has no prior criminal history to explain.
The attorney’s reputation and years of experience will also influence the fees they charge. If an attorney has been practicing in the same community for a lengthy period of time, they have built up a strong reputation among Judges, courts and Prosecutor’s and with that experience can successfully argue your case and protect your rights. Attorneys who are more established tend to charge higher fees, and it is that invaluable experience and knowledge that you are paying for.
Consider all the factors before retaining a San Diego Criminal Defense attorney to help you with your case. The most important thing is making sure that you get the least possible charge, or the case completely dismissed so that your criminal records is minimal.